Save Pollock's Toy Museum

by Jack Fawdry Tatham in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 5th March 2021 we successfully raised £41,568 with 812 supporters in 28 days

We are raising emergency funds to save Pollock's Toy Museum from closure due to the Covid-19 Pandemic!

by Jack Fawdry Tatham in London, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

The first £15,000 we have raised has averted immediate danger and this will allow us to reopen when guidelines allow. We look forward to welcoming you back when we can. The support has been incredibly touching and has made us feel true joy. Thank you!

Yet, the future is still unclear. We have created a stretch target so we  can be resilient in the face of these difficult times. It's unknown when we will be able to reopen and we are concerned business rates will return and the furlough scheme will end before we see an improvement in visitor numbers. Alongside this there is uncertainty around the future of our wonderful buildings. 

All money raised with our stretch target will go into securing the buildings and making sure we can keep our doors open even if we have low visitor numbers or have to limit numbers for social distancing. 

We also have a long term aim to build a public programme of events and opening our print studio for open-access use and educational, printmaking workshops.

Who are we?

Pollock's Toy Museum, the oldest Toy Museum in the UK, dates back to the 1850s when the printer Benjamin Pollock created the famed printed toy theatres which have become our hallmark. Since the 1950s we have been an independent museum, now run by Eddy and Jack, the grandson and great-grandson of our founder, Marguerite Fawdry.

We are working with the Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust and reaching out to new and existing supporters of our unique collection to help us stay open!


Why we need your help

The museum and our small toy shop have remained closed for most of the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We rely entirely on visitors to the museum and shop and have lost £15,000 in income over the last year. Therefore, our first target on this crowdfunder aims to recoup this loss! We have had to furlough our small staff and we are struggling to pay our bills.  We are concerned that our overheads will go up (the return of business rates and staff coming off furlough) before healthy footfall returns. This amount will help us stay open for the next year until things stabilise after the pandemic.

Why should you help us keep our doors open?

There is nothing like Pollock's Toy Museum. If we were to close, London and the UK would lose something irreplaceable. Our unique collection is a curated treasure trove of folk toys, dolls, puppets and curios from around the world arranged in colourful and eccentric cases. Our favourites include "Eric", one of the world's oldest teddy bears at 115. Yet, he is a mere whippersnapper compared to another resident; a toy mouse from ancient Egypt made of clay from the banks of the river Nile whose over 4000 years old!

All of these wonders are housed in two historic buildings, barely changed since they were built in 1750 and 1850. One of which is a listed Building.


"What memories are contained here! You are taken back to your childhood with this comprehensive collection... this is a London institution, full of history and any visitor to this great city should certainly pay a visit" - Pelham, visitor from TripAdvisor


 '...It has whimsy, eccentricity and charm in abundance. If there's a heaven here on earth, for me, Pollock's Museum is it.’ Clive Hicks-Jenkins, artist 


^Mr Pollocks above, showing off his Toy Theatres  C.1900

Inspiring the Community

The museum provides everyone and anyone with an opportunity to explore history and travel back in time. The 18th and 19th century buildings retain much of their original character and the direct lineage to the last great Toy Theatre maker, Benjamin Pollock, make us a valuable link to the city's past and a rare experience in modern times.

We like to bring the collection alive for our community. Toys are a wonderful way to learn about our collective past and we provide talks and events on site and in local schools.

'Pollock's engages children without talking down to them, and takes you into a different world' - Alan Powers, author and member of Pollock's Toy Museum Trust


^Jack Fawdry teaching KS2 pupils about Victorian Toys at a local school.

Our collection is a rich source of inspiration for many. We have visits from schools and universities, as well as professional illustrators and artist who draw from the collection. Artists such as Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx visited often; actors and filmmakers, including the legendary director Peter Brook, have cited toy theatres purchased at Pollock's as the first step in their careers; David Bowie would visit the museums to get inspiration for his outfits and famous authors have written many a line devoted to Pollock's. Robert Louis Stevenson famously quipped of the original Pollock’s Theatres - 

'If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's' - Robert Louis Stevenson

Most recently Paul Simonon of The Clash and The Good, the Bad and the Queen told us-

‘I highly recommend Pollock's Toy Museum… It has inspired so many of my music and art projects… a real London gem that must be saved….I’m still haunted by the museum!’  - Paul Simonon


^ Pollocks character sheet, for toy theatre  C.1880 from the archive  

How can your donations help us?

Your donations will mean that Pollock's Toy Museum can stay open for present and future generations to enjoy. The first target of £15,000 will cover our loss of income over the last year due to the pandemic. We are concerned that our overheads will go up (the return of business rates and staff coming off furlough) before healthy footfall returns. Any money raised towards our stretch target will enable us to stabilise for the future and be more resilient to the shifting landscaped of the pandemic.

'You cannot fake the atmosphere, Pollock's is the real thing. Absolute Treasure.' - anonymous online review


^Room 2 in the museum, tin toys, Punch and Judy and other puppets

The Future: We want to build back stronger

We have lots of exciting plans for the future if we can stay open. With your help we want to expand our public programme and community engagement with workshops, exhibitions, educational offerings and collaborations. 

Toys mirror our world past and present and we want to use the collection in new ways to form a mission statement that builds relationships with, is accountable to and serves our community. 

'Imagination is the key word. It has been squeezed out of the mainstream curriculum and it is vital to our happiness and also our future as a creative population to open that door in people’s minds.' - Alan Powers, author and member of Pollock's Toy Museum Trust.


The museum also has a print studio and part of our recovery plan is to make this an open-access, educational space to teach others the art printmaking and to provide an environment for a community of artists and makers! 

Everyone can help in their own way!

We have lovely rewards so please make a donation and help us by sharing the Save Pollock's Toy Museum campaign with as many people as possible using the follow methods:


Twitter: @Save_Pollocks

Insta: @pollockstoymuseum

Like our Facebook Page

Join in on the discussion in our Facebook Group



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£50 or more

Two museum Tickets & Toy Theatre

Give £50 and we'll reward you with a limited edition Regency Theatre with Sleeping Beauty play, two tickets to the museum and 10% off our online shop!

£10 or more

A Jolly Thank You!

A personal thank you email with a 10% voucher for our online shop

£20 or more

Museum Entry and 10% off Online Shop

Give £20 today and we'll reward you with a ticket to the museum and 10% off on our online shop!

£35 or more

Two Tickets to the Museum and 10% off Online Shop

If you give £35 you will recieve two tickets to museum and 10% off our online shop!

£100 or more

Group/Family Museum Ticket & 10% off Online Shop!

Pledge £100 today and we will give you a group ticket (4 people) so you can make a day of it exploring central London, and a personal thank you email with a 10% voucher for our online shop.

£150 or more

9 of 10 claimed

Newly Printed Alice Theatre and Group Ticket!

If you give £150 or more you will get a UK printed, new edition of the Alice in Wonderland Toy Theatre printed from our archive and a group ticket to the museum (up to 4 people)!

£500 or more

3 of 20 claimed

Printing the Toy Theatre workshop!

If you give £500 the dolls will do a merry dance of your commitment to keeping the museum going, as well as a very special reward of a printing your own toy theatre workshop, in our traditional print studio at the museum. You will get to explore the archive and print your own toy theatre from copper plates, using a victorian press. We will also give you 5 tickets to the museum, as well as a 10% voucher for our online shop!

£1,000 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Printing the Toy Theatre Workshop and Tour!

If you give this amount the teddy bears will have a picnic and we will offer you two places on our Printing the Toy Theatre workshop and evening tour of the museum with bubbles (up to 4 people)!

£1,500 or more

2 of 5 claimed

Mega Prize!

If you give £1500 or more , you will be playing a huge roll in helping the museum survive to inspire and engage in the future. Artist Jack Fawdry Tatham is offering to design and print you a personalised one off Toy Theatre. We will discuss what you want on your theatres and then Jack will draw it on to copperplate then etch and print the image just as Mr Pollock would have. As well as 10 Tickets to the museum and our thanks for ever more

£30 or more

15 of 15 claimed

Special 'Hansel and Gretel' Book!

Kindly donated as a reward by publisher Design for Today and artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins this book is the Winner of the 2020 V&A Illustration award! Hansel and Gretel, by Simon Armitage, illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

£250 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Limited: Evening private tour with bubbly

Give £250 and we will be hugely grateful and will reward you with a private tour of up to 4 people around the museum with a glass of bubbly with our in house historian and storyteller. Learn about the collection in new and insightful ways and get the chance to take a closer look at some of our collection with special access to the Toy Theatre archive! Only 10 tours available!

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